Annette Riedl | Picture Association Getty Images
WASHINGTON – The Trump administration acknowledged Sunday’s reports that a group backed by a foreign government had carried out a cyber attack on the U.S. Treasury Department and part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
“The U.S. government is aware of these reports and will take all necessary steps to identify and remedy any problems associated with the situation,” John Ullyot, a spokesman for the National Security Council, wrote in an email to CNBC.
The hack was first reported by Reuters.
The hackers suspect they were directed against the Treasury and the National Telecommunications and Information Directorate of the Department of Commerce or the US agency NTIA, which is tasked with developing Internet and telecommunications policy, Reuters reported.
The sophisticated computer hacking launched at NTIA has led to the organization’s Microsoft Office 365 platform, Reuters reports.
It was not immediately clear what information was compromised by the computer breach.
A spokesman for the Department of Commerce confirmed the hack. Microsoft declined to comment.
“We can confirm that an offense has been committed in one of our offices. We have asked CISA and the FBI to investigate, and we are unable to comment further at this time,” a trade spokesman told NBC News.
The Washington Post linked the crackdown over the weekend with a team working for Russia’s foreign intelligence service.
The FBI is currently investigating the group, known as private sector cyber security firms known as APT29 or Cozy Bear. Hackers are also believed to have violated the State Department, chiefs of staff and the White House network during the Obama administration.
The latest revelation came less than a month after President Donald Trump fired Christopher Krebs, the country’s chief cyber security official.
Krebs, who oversaw the Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency, was responsible for directing efforts to protect the U.S. election.
Christopher Krebs, director of the U.S. Agency for Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security (CISA), speaks to reporters at the CISA Election Day Operations Center on Saturday, Tuesday, in Arlington, Virginia, USA, on March 3, 2020.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
In a tweet last month, Trump said Krebs made a “very inaccurate” statement about the security of the 2020 presidential election.
Trump, who has not yet yielded to President-elect Joe Biden, has made unsubstantiated allegations that the election is characterized by “massive irregularities and fraud.” Twitter issued a warning to the president’s tweets, citing the allegation of election fraud being disputed.
The courts have repeatedly rejected the suits of the Trump campaign, and his allies brought over the 2020 election.